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September 21st, 2020

End the illegal trade of blood diamonds and gold

topic:Human Rights
type:Campaign, Donation, NGO
by:Yair Oded

Despite efforts to curb illegal mining and trading of minerals such as gold and diamonds in West and Central Africa, the practice continues virtually uninhibited - exacerbating conflict and violating the human rights of thousands of people.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) alone, an estimated 200,000 people work at artisanal gold mining sites, 64 per cent of which reportedly have armed groups present. Revenue from the illegal extraction of gold goes to finance militias and armed groups, thus fanning the flames of conflict and unrest in the area. 

Global Witness is a non-profit NGO working to dismantle the link between natural resource exploitation, conflict, poverty, corruption, and human rights abuses across the world. 

“Many of the world’s worst environmental and human rights abuses are driven by the exploitation of natural resources and corruption in the global political and economic system.  Global Witness is campaigning to end this,” the organisation’s mission statement reads. 

Global Witness was founded in 1993, and embarked on a campaign to shut down the Khmer Rouge’s illegal logging industry.

Since then, Global Witness has expanded its scope, and now works to uncover corruption scandals in myriad spheres pertaining to human rights violations and the environment, and advocates to change the systems that enabled such corruption in the first place.

Extraction of minerals - including diamonds and gold - and the dire environmental and human rights implications this enterprise exerts continue to be a focus area for Global Witness.

The organisation has uncovered critical information regarding the extraction and trade of blood diamonds, conducted a thorough study into the abuses and human rights violations associated with gold extraction in DRC, and has been pushing to institute laws that hold companies accountable for failing to eradicate products associated with human rights abuses from their supply chain. 

Global Witnesses investigations and advocacy attract global attention to corruption scandals involving natural resources exploitation, and shed light on previously unknown cases of human rights and environmental defenders being killed for refusing to relinquish their land, rivers, and forests to extraction corporations. 

The organisation’s work has also resulted in “ground-breaking measures” compelling companies to ascertain that their supply chains are not associated with human rights abuses, and the exposure of trillions of dollars-worth of oil, gas, and mineral deals previously hidden from public scrutiny.

Global Witness also played a role in exposing the oil giant Shell’s corruption scandal in Nigeria, for which the company is now facing a corporate bribery trial of historic proportions. 

The fight against corruption in the extraction industry is far from being over.

Please visit Global Witness’ website to access its articles and reports uncovering corruption cases and help spread the word through your channels. You may also want to consider making a donation to support their efforts. 

Image: Nabilah Hussain

globalwitness.org